Defenseman Kris Letang isn't going to force his return to the lineup. When his body is ready he will know.

Letang hinted that he would be playing if this were the postseason. But it's October and he intends on making sure his knee is recovered completely before he plays.

“You can always try to play” Letang said. “That's always an option. But it's not the right time in the season to not let something heal all the way.”

Letang made it through an entire team practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury during a practice Sept. 27 at West Point. He reported no problems following the workout.

“I'm going one day at a time” he said. “Getting to practice with my teammates is a good thing. I feel good right now.”

He likely doesn't feel well enough to play Thursday in Philadelphia but Letang's return to the lineup doesn't seem far away.

Coach Dan Bylsma said he hopes Letang continues to let the injury improve. Letang is historically a fast healer but Bylsma knows it's a long season and would rather have Letang in the lineup in April than October.

“Kris is a guy who wanted to play last week” Bylsma joked. “You do have to be aware of the situation and when the best time to return is. Without (Letang having played) any games he needs to see some pretty good practice time when he comes back.”

Letang who has produced 80 points in his previous 86 regular-season games has played a full 82-game season only once in his career (2010-11).